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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 19, Issue 8, Pages 505-510

Use of Prebiotics for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Andrew Szilagyi

Division of Gastroenterology, Faculty of Medicine, The Sir Mortimer B Davis Jewish General Hospital, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Received 3 January 2005; Accepted 28 February 2005

Copyright © 2005 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The relevance of diet in both the pathogenesis and the therapy of inflammatory bowel disease is an evolving science. Disturbance of intestinal microflora (dysbiosis) is putatively a key element in the environmental component causing inflammatory bowel disease. Prebiotics are among the dietary components used in an attempt to counteract dysbiosis. Such predominantly carbohydrate dietary components exert effects on the luminal environment by physicochemical changes through pH alteration, by production of short chain fatty acids and by selectively promoting putatively 'health-beneficial' bacteria. The present review elaborates on some of the background rationale and mechanisms on the use of prebiotics. Additionally, published animal and human trials are discussed.